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  11. India: Humayon’s tomb

Exploring the temples and tombs of Delhi’s Mughal and Sultan rulers

Humayon’s Tomb is set within a complex with extensive and lush gardens, amongst which are scattered several elaborate tombs. The largest structure is Humayan’s Tomb, a phenomenal structure which is believed to have been the template for the Taj Mahal. Humayun’s Tomb is the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun which was commissioned by Humayun’s first wife and chief consort, Empress Bega Begum (also known as Haji Begum), in 1569-70. It was designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyas, a Persian architect chosen by her.

The circumstances behind Humayan’s death were unusual. On 27 January 1556, Humayun, with his arms full of books, was descending the staircase from his library when the muezzin announced the Azaan (the call to prayer). It was his habit, wherever he heard the summons, to bow his knee in holy reverence. Trying to kneel, he caught his foot in his robe, tumbled down several steps and hit his temple on a rugged stone edge. He died three days later.

We were given time to walk around the tomb and admire the surrounding views, with the minarets of the other tombs peeking above the trees. Leaving the complex, we did a quick detour to see the octagonal Isa Khan Niyazi Tomb, which pre-dates Humayan’s Tomb by 15 years.

The gate to Humayon’s tomb
Humayon’s Tomb.


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